As a young man, Eldzier Cortor (American, 1916–2015) worked as an easel painter for the Works Progress Administration, creating scenes of African American social life on the South Side of Chicago. He also helped to found the South Side Community Art Center, a Chicago Historic Landmark. In the 1940s, fellowships allowed him to travel. He first went to the Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia and the Carolinas to study the Gullah community. Its flourishing culture and preserved heritage, despite a history of slavery, became Cortor’s muse. He focused his artwork on the female figure, saying, “The black woman represents the black race.” He continued on to Jamaica, Cuba, and Haiti, and in each place found examples of West African culture. Around 1950 he moved to New York, where he continued to create paintings of dignified Black women for the rest of his days.